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Fairmont State Announces New Master's in Cybersecurity and Risk Management Program Impact
Fairmont State News

Fairmont State Announces New Master's in Cybersecurity and Risk Management Program

Few professions in the 21st century are more in demand than those related to cybersecurity. 

As technology continues to advance, so does the sophistication of cybercrimes, making it imperative for professionals in the field to possess advanced knowledge and skills to counter these threats effectively.

To address this need, Fairmont State University now offers a Master of Science degree in Cybersecurity and Risk Management. Beginning with the Fall 2024 semester, students will be able to pursue what has become a highly desired master’s degree. 

According to a 2022 report by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 700,000 unfilled jobs in cybersecurity. Job postings in this field have increased by 94 percent over the past six years. 

The cybersecurity field is expected to continue its rapid growth for at least the next decade, with the need for an 89 percent increase in the cybersecurity workforce worldwide, according to the International Information System Security Certification Consortium. 

While the number of cybersecurity postgraduate programs has risen over the past several years, Fairmont State’s coursework is unique. 

“Fairmont State’s program has been designed to cover intelligence and counter-intelligence topics that are absent in many of the cybersecurity programs that are offered nationwide,” said Dr. Robert Cutlip, Director of Fairmont State’s Cybersecurity and Data Analytics Programs. 

Dr. Cutlip brings three decades of experience in the federal government as a research engineer, senior scientist, and chief data scientist to the program. He currently serves as senior scientist and member of the cyber working group at the Institute for Defense Analyses. He is also board certified as an expert in cybersecurity investigations by the McAfee Institute.

With his vast experience in the intelligence community, and more specifically in counterintelligence, Cutlip has crafted a curriculum that Fairmont State students will find indispensable upon completion of the master’s program. 

“Our master’s program is designed to satisfy an unmet need in the marketplace,” Cutlip said. “It assures access to a high-quality graduate education in cybersecurity with a focus on cyber intelligence and risk management.”

As of Jan. 15, 2024, the average annual pay for a Cyber Security Risk Management in the United States is $132,962 a year according to ZipRecruiter.

“The rising tide of cybercrime necessitates professionals with a master’s degree in cybersecurity,” said Dr. Rebecca Giorcelli, Interim Dean and Professor of Information Systems Management at Fairmont State. “The statistics surrounding data breaches and electronic theft highlight the urgent need for specialists who have advanced knowledge to combat these threats.”

According to Security Magazine, there are over 2,200 attacks each day which breaks down to nearly 1 cyberattack every 39 seconds and equates to 800,000 attacks each year. The industries most at risk for cyberattacks are the automotive, manufacturing, public sector, education and financial industries according to Forbes Magazine.

“The subjects in our curriculum are in demand, both in the private sector and government agencies,” Cutlip said. “The topics will provide students with key competencies in intelligence-related disciplines that are in demand in these fields.” 

Fairmont State’s Master of Science degree in Cybersecurity and Risk Management was formally approved in October 2023 by the Institutional Actions Council of the Higher Learning Commission.

Interested students will have the opportunity to learn more about the program during virtual open house sessions in upcoming months. 

More information about the program.